Vitamin K Information and Sources
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin which is involved in healthy bone development (a deficiently may lead to bone disease) and in the blood clotting process.
There are three source groups of vitamin K: from animal products in small amounts, from plant sources (phylloquinone - i.e. leafy green vegetables, vegetable oils and some cereal products), and from the bacteria microflora in our digestive system (menaquinones). Because these bacteria synthesise vitamin K within our body there is no recommended minimum intake of vitamin K and clinical deficiency is rare, though is more common in babies. However, diets rich in fatty, sugary and processed foods can compromise our gut flora, as can some additives and pesticides that are often a part of modern food production, as well as antibiotic treatment.
As the majority of vitamin K is obtained from our gut flora, the use of probiotics and prebiotics may help increase production. Probiotics are live strains of 'good' bacteria, obtained from live yoghurts, powders, capsules or specially formulated probiotic drinks. Using probiotics increases the colonies of our gut flora. Prebiotics are certain nutrients and constituents of food which our own gut flora feed on, thus increasing their numbers. Prebiotics include fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and some other soluble fibres found in pulses, fruit and some cereal products.
Other than that obtained from bacteria production, the richest food sources of vitamin K include:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Brussel sprouts
- Safflower oil
- Blackstrap molasses
- Swiss chard
- Porridge oats / oatmeal
- Beef liver
- Red meat
- Soya oil
- Kiwi fruits